Justine Dupont, a strong French force on the Women’s ASP World Tour, was crowned number one at the 6-Star Women’s EDP Surf Pro Estoril 2012 presented by Billabong at Praia de Carcavelos. Dupont shut down Hawaiian competitor, Nage Melamed, in the final heat to improve her 9th place spot in Pantin. Though Dupont started the WCT off with an injury, it is clear she is back in action and ready for the 2013 tour.“I’m just so happy!” Dupont said. “It’s the first time I won a Star event and I think it’s the first time a European has ever won a 6-Star, so I’m just over the moon right now! I’m so happy to have such a great team in France with all the girls rooting for me… I’m super happy to make the final and I want to thank everyone who helped me and gave me great advice; that’s what I needed!”Dupont inches closer to the Top 10 to complete her season after pocketing 3500 points from the EDP Surf Pro Estoril 2012 presented by Billabong.“After my injury I had a hard time getting back in the game, and even though it’s a bit late, we’ll see if I can make it back into the qualification zone,” Dupont remarked. “Either way, it’s a great result and it will definitely help with confidence for the future. There’s one more event, and I’m not a quitter; last year I qualified super late, so I still believe and we’ll see what happens in Azores.”Dupont battled through the entire competition and, when it came down to the final heat, started strong with a clean righthander where she performed two powerful turns to score a 7.17 to take the lead in the heat. Though the conditions weren’t ideal, Dupont made the difficult bumpy line-up look workable.“I’m not sure I’m back at 100% form, but I can surf for sure, so I’m happy and I want to thank the team at CERS who helped me get back into shape so quickly,” Dupont stated. “I’ve had a great week here with the Billabong team; there was just a great athmosphere in the group with Nathalie, my team manager, and I really appreciated having somebody here dedicated to helping me.”The ‘Giant Killer’ – also known as Nage Melamed (HAW) – took out numerous top athletes, including: Sage Erickson, Jacqueline Silva, Bianca Buitendag and Sofia Mulanovich, making it to the final heat.“I’m ecstatic right now!” Melamed stated. “It would have been great to take the whole thing out, but it’s my best result of the year, and first time making a final in a 6-Star so I’m really happy… It was really exciting to surf against such great surfers and be able to beat them; it definitely puts my confidence at a higher level and makes me think I can do it forever.”
Displaying a powerful and on-point backhand attack for the last two days, Melamed proved she has what it takes to surf amongst the best women surfers in the world, and will take her signature smiling attitude to the event in Sao Miguel next week for the last time in 2012 on the European and International calendar, at the SATA Airline’s Azores Pro.
“At the beginning of the year, I was just not doing very well and it kind of made me get negative, so I’ve just been trying to stay positive, be happy, have fun and that’s the most important thing!” Melamed said. “It seems to be turning around; unfortunately, it’s the end of the year, but hopefully it keeps going… I’m surfing in Azores next week, so I’m hoping for another great result there.”Peruvian athlete and ASP World Tour surfer, Sofia Mulanovich, placed third overall and although she couldn’t take out Melamed in the semi-final, still displayed an outstanding performance.“I feel good,” Mulanovich started. “I needed the points and I made a few rounds and got the result here, so I’m stoked. It’s been a long day with a lot of surfing, and I feel like I’ve had this bad knee all year, so by the end my knee felt like it was going to explode and I couldn’t surf well that heat… Congrats to Nage; she was surfing amazing!”Mulanovich will be sitting back anxiously watching her future being decided by her opponents at the Azores Pro 2012.“I hope these solid results will be enough,” Mulanovich shared. “I was actually calculating after Pantin, but I just stopped… I’ll just hope for the best and whatever happens, happens!”With the highest heat total of the event, Rebecca Woods (AUS) was unable to score the 5.11 she needed to advance into the final heat, but still ended up with a great result in equal 3rd place.“It’s a little bitter/sweet, but I’m very happy to get third.” Woods said. “There were so many scenarios going on in my head today… (Third) is a strong result and I’m happy to improve on my Round of 12… There were hard waves today and I think experience paid off for me. I’m exhausted… but still having fun! Yesterday was really good here, really punchy and different to a lot of contests… One more event to go; last year we had some good waves (in Azores).”
As a college graduate from California State University, Long Beach, Emily enters the world with a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies and a passion for surfing, cultural diversity and serving others.
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